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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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(Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune) Photos are taken in the Senate Chambers during the last day of the 2014 legislative session at the Capitol in Salt Lake City Thursday, March 13, 2014.
Utah Legislature winds down. Some opinions ...

The 2014 Regular Session of the Utah Legislature ends, by law, tonight.

While we’re waiting to tot up the damage, some recent opinions on what’s gone down so far:

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Legislature again puts a stop to needed contribution limits — Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

"Governments and politicians aren’t at the top of the lists of most trusted institutions. Utah scandals involving former Attorney General John Swallow added to the mistrust in Utah — or should have.

"This year’s Utah Legislature, feeding a reputation as self-serving and all too ideological, missed another chance to regain some public trust when it killed – yet again – a measure to limit campaign donations. ...

Pols kill donation limits again — Ogden Standard-Examiner Editorial

"Even with the stench of the John Swallow scandal permeating in the Utah Capitol, the dominant political party in Utah stripped out legislation that would have set campaign donation limits for pols. ...

"It’s another in a series of missteps by Utah legislators in regards to ethics. They tiptoe forward when long, solid steps are needed. Both the Utah Senate and House majorities eagerly eliminated the above-mentioned donation limits. ..."

Sexual abuse education bill is, sadly, necessary — Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

Utah needs tougher penalties for cockfighting — Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

Unfinished legislative business on Medicaid, and on clean air fuel standards — Deseret News Editorial

"As the Utah legislative session comes to a close on Thursday, two high-profile items remain that — if acted upon — could make a meaningful difference to families in Utah. Mending the medical safety net would profoundly help more than 50,000 of the state’s poorest citizens. Also, the Legislature shouldn’t relinquish the opportunity it has to take a simple but significant step toward improving the state’s air quality.

"Rather than lamenting a failure to act, we call upon the House and the Senate to pass these measures before adjournment. ..."

Lockhart’s iPad-in-every-backpack plan lacked vision — Jay Evensen | The Deseret News

"As political slogans go, ‘A chicken in every pot’ was more effective than ‘An iPad in every backpack.’

"For a while, that is.

"When Herbert Hoover used that slogan, it helped vault him to the White House in 1928. But when the Great Depression hit, it didn’t prove any more popular than Utah House Speaker Becky Lockhart’s recent iPad plan, which proved as elusive as the top level of Angry Birds. ..."

Legislative gems: Much to admire from this legislative session — Dan Liljenquist | For The Deseret News

" ... Knowing from firsthand experience that there is very little that is glamorous or glorious about what they do, I am grateful for our legislators’ efforts on our behalf. Being a legislator is mostly hard work, with interminable meetings, 16-hour days, hundreds of constituent emails and phone calls, and news stories focused more on the controversial and the dysfunctional than on the rational and the purposeful. It is public service indeed. ..."

No one likes the election compromise — Pamela Openshaw | For The Provo Daily Herald

" ... The one constant in this issue is that no one likes the compromise, including legislators rethinking earlier support. Why do it, then? We are fixing the wrong problem, like a doctor who removes a facial mole to solve an itching toe. The real solution, more people involved, does not automatically demand a system change. ..."



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